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Wyszków, Poland

Birth of this website

This website owes its origins to a meeting between Wojciech Chodkowski, President of the City Council for Wyszków, Poland, and Howard Orenstein, an American who visited  Wyszków in April, 2004. 

Left to Right: Chris Malczewski (Interpreter), Howard Orenstein, & Wojciech Chodkowski (President, Wyszków City Council)

Howard's father, Jack (Yankiel), was born in Wyszków in 1913 and emigrated to the United States in 1930.   Jack was the last person in his immediate family to reside in Wyszków, and talked with Howard about his life in the town, as well as in Warszawa, where he attended Yeshiva. Before Jack's death in 1996,  he and Howard discussed the family's lore and origins, which included other families, such as Blum (Bloom), Holland,  Ostrowiak, and Pieniek.  Read about Orenstein-Bloom genealogy.

Howard then found a copy of the 1929 Business Directory of Poland,  and, with some encouragement from Stanley Diamond,  Executive Director of Jewish Records Indexing - Poland, began a project to translate the Wyszków entries in that publication. Further discussions blossomed into a full-blown interest in family genealogy, which led eventually to Howard's involvement with projects already underway at Jewish Records Indexing - Poland, including the Wyszków Town Page and the Marriage Banns of Wyszków, Poland.

During this time period, Howard received a set of black and white photographs from Claudio Cembal, an Israeli, whose grandfather, Aharon Cembal, had lived in Wyszków.  Howard created a website which displayed these photos, mostly of people who were nameless. He then notified various JRI-Poland list subscribers, and requested that they try to identify the people depicted in the photos.  That website, which eventually morphed into a website hosted by Ada Holtzman,  is called, "We Remember Jewish Wyszków" .The website has links to translations of chapters from "Sefer Wyszków," the Yizkor Book of Wyszków, edited by David Shtokfish (1964).

At about the same time these developments were taking place, Wojciech Chodkowski seriously wondered about the decimation of Jewish life and its subsequent absence in Wyszków in the years following the Holocaust. Re-establishing a Jewish presence in Wyszków was not an easy task. Yet, in 1997, a large monument on the grounds of the former Wyszków Jewish cemetery was dedicated. Tombstones and pieces of Jewish tombstones that were discovered in and around the town, were incorporated into this beautiful and historic monument. The work on the monument was conducted under the supervision of The U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad but was funded by "Vishkovers" and their descendants all around the world. A few years later, in 2003, a monument was erected by the City Council to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the death of Wyszków native, Mordechai Anielewicz, the commander of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Under the forward-looking guidance of Wojciech and the City Council, additional efforts, including this website, are underway in order to reinvigorate Jewish interest in Wyszków.

If you would like to contact Howard for more information, or would like to provide material for this website, please do so by email: Howard Orenstein

Please check this page from time to time, as updates will appear.


If you would like to see a very detailed version of this image (about 12 MB) click here: large version.

If you can identify anyone in the photo please contact me.

On May 8, 2013, the town of Wyszków staged memorial ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and Wyszków-born Mordekhai Anielewicz, leader of the Uprising. The program included a scholarly and educational session which focused on the remembrance of Mordekhai Anielewicz, and his merits with regard to Poles and Jews. The meeting was co-organized by the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, whose home is in Warsaw.

The program consisted of two parts: The first was the commencement of ceremonies at the monument of Mordekhai Anielewicz (Berek Joselewicz Square), featuring a speech by a representative of Wyszków Jews, Alan Grosbard ( a US-based attorney). He is the 4th speaker in the video. His remarks are translated into Polish by Krzysztof Malczewski, Jewish Records Indexing-Poland representative in Poland.

Video: Ceremony at the Mordekhai Anielewicz Monument in Wyszków

The second part was a scholarly-educational session at the Hutnik Cultural Center in Wyszków. A very touching moment for all participants was experienced during the speech of Alan Grosbard whose family comes from Wyszków.

Video: Mr. Grosbard at Wyszków Cultural Center

Text of Mr. Grosbard's speech can be found here.Visit the Wyszków Virtual Shtetl at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

*PHOTO: Giborim Heroes scout group against a studio backdrop, Vishkov (Wyszkow), Poland, 1930s.
If you recognize someone in the photo, please contact me.

*"Flight From Fear" is the Holocaust memoir of Rabbi Samuel Cywiak, who was born in Wyszków, Poland in 1920. It chronicles the six years during World War II where, not only did he survive the wraths of both Adolf Hilter and Joseph Stalin and witness many horrors throughout Europe, but he was ordained a rabbi, became a husband and father, and witnessed and experienced many miracles. He was ordained by Rabbi Chaim ben Zion Notealevitz in New York and later certified fit in matters of Jewish legal questions by the great Moshe Feinstein. Rabbi Cywiak was honored by former President of Venezuela, Carlos Andres Perez, for community service and has had a distinguished career as an Orthodox Rabbi, mohel, and cantor for over sixty years now. For more information about Rabbi Cywiak's memoir visit Flight From Fear

*Ghetto Fighters House Archives: Wyszków entries

* Read "Wyszków"
--- from Pinkas Hakehillot Polin: Encyclopedia of Jewish Communities, Poland, Volume I, pages 199-201, published by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem
* Read Meir Gover's description of the headstone for his great granduncle, Zwi Herz Broder
* Where We Came From: Stories from the Radzyminski Family by Rona G. Finkelstein

Israeli Memorials for Vanished Communities (Holocaust Era):

click here --------> Wyszków

*Read about Frida Grapa Cielak's grandmother, Khavele Markushamer, from Wyszków
in English or in Spanish.
*Attention all Wyszków Survivors and their descendants!
Well-known Mexican historian, author and essayist, Dr. Enrique KRAUZE, in gathering information for "The Wyszków Project"
*The Wyszków Cemetery project
*Short Film of The Wyszków Cemetery
*Jewish Cemeteries in Poland (In English)
*Jewish Cemetery in Wyszków (In Polish)
*Jewish Historical Institute, Warsaw; Marriage Banns of Wyszków
*Orenstein-Bloom Genealogy
*Wyszków Entries, 1929 Polish Business Directory (English)
*We Remember Jewish Wyszków, Poland
*Wyszków Town Page JRI-PL
*Wyszków Yizkor Book
*1921 Polish Census Cover Page, Warsaw Voivodship
*Jewish Population of Wyszków and nearby towns, 1921
*Photos Wyszków, 1920s-30s, 1939-1945
*Aerial Photo of Wyszków, 1944 (courtesy Stanley Diamond)
*Photos, Wyszków 2004
*"Original" 1929 Wyszków Business Directory Page
*Photos of Wyszków Prior to WW II
*Museum of Family History-Wyszków